Saturday, March 3, 2012

Parkour, impossible is nothing...

"Let the spirit out - Discard all thoughts of reward, all hopes of praise and fears of blame, all awareness of one's bodily self. And, finally closing the avenues of sense perception, let the spirit out, as it will." - Bruce Lee
 Parkour is indescribable. It's a philosophy, a way of life, an art-form, a self-affirmation and statement that there are no limits, no boundaries and nothing which cannot be overcome.

To its founder, David Belle, Parkour is a training method that imparts on its practitioners, or traceurs, the ability to overcome obstacles, mental and physical, in the urban and rural environment using the most efficient movements possible. In Belle's vision, parkour is means to conquer obstacles, teach self-reliance and confidence and prepare traceurs to face any challenges in life.

According to Belle, "Parkour is firstly about the useful side, to teach people how to trust themselves, to learn to be careful. The philosophy is always to advance, never to stop. If some time you have problems, like in life, if you have an obstacle you must always continue forward."

Functionally, parkour is visually stunning, pushing athletes to their mental and physical limits as they scale walls, bounce off railings, hurl themselves over obstacles and run through whatever gets in their way. It's characterized by height, unpredictable turns and exceptional displays of balance and agility.

At the core of parkour is a spirit of non-competition and community. Oftentimes, you'll find pockets of traceurs who come together for "jams" to learn and support each other.

As parkour has evolved over the last few years, a subculture called freerunning has become more and more prevalent. Freerunning is an offshoot of parkour founded by Sebastian Foucan who felt limited by focus of parkour on simple, effective movements.

Freerunning is characterized by acrobatic, flashy, visually stunning movements. Freerunners leap, twist and somersault around and through obstacles. While traceurs loyal to parkour believe non-competition and frown on rivalry,  freerunners tend to form competitive teams.

Both freerunning and traditional parkour will absolutely blow you away. To check out some parkour videos and read more on its origins, check out this Infobarrel article:

Train like Spiderman: An Introduction to Parkour